Although they are not considered automobiles, cars, or trucks - these vehicles are still regularly maintained and observed by the law. Only the above states on the list allow the use of these vehicles if they are considered "street legal" through some modifications. As can be ascertained from the list, this is largely due to the necessity of open desert, plains, or extremely rough terrain that does not allow the passage of other vehicles on a normal basis. Restricting these vehicles in an open state with a lower metropolitan presence would severely impact the transportation methods of many citizens, and some consider this to be unconstitutional or unfair.
Further to making your street vehicle legal, you must also have insurance. Driving on state-maintained roads with a police or sheriff's presence would usually mean you will need proper automobile insurance to ride legally. This would also mean that the license plate, sticker, and overall registration of the approved vehicle need to be properly recorded - with an up-to-date driver's license. Your local DMV can answer any questions, including classifying and endorsing a motorcycle class. They may also be able to answer if your vehicle needs to undergo a safety and emissions test.
Generally, states with large cities and heavily metropolitan buildings do not permit the use of all-terrain vehicles. This also may mean that if you live in these states but are away from the "central hub,” your local and even state laws can permit the use of these vehicles in some cases where roads are rough or are not entirely present. Even in the states that allow these vehicles, they are often controlled where they can be used - downtown areas are almost always prohibited.
Alaska, for example, severely limits the use of these vehicles throughout the entire state. Although it is not known to be a highly metropolitan area, it is only allowed if road conditions permit. For example, the vehicle can be used if you are in an area that does not have access to major highways and most roads are not maintained properly. Further, if frequent snowfall has rendered a more traditional automobile useless, then ATVs and UTVs can be used if they are street-legal. In this way, ATVs can be used if they intuitively make sense to the region and the usual weather of the state.
ATV Street Legality
|Arizona||Legal||needs to be registered and have license plate|
|Arkansas||Legal||must be at least 12+ have spark arrestor/muffler sys|
|California||Legal||only in specific conditions (bad weather, etc)|
|Colorado||Legal||must add safety features|
|Florida||Legal||on unpaved roads during the day at >35 mph|
|Idaho||Legal||must have license plate, insurance, muffler, spark arrestor|
|Iowa||Legal||2022: under 35 mph, not on interstates, 18+|
|Kansas||Legal||require title and registration, cities under 15,000|
|Louisiana||Legal||only on the shoulder of the road|
|Massachusetts||Legal||must add safety equipment, 16.5+|
|Michigan||Legal||18+, not on interstates, up to 25 mph|
|Minnesota||Legal||insurance, rearview mirror|
|Montana||Legal||must have muffler, brake lights, headlights,|
|North Dakota||Legal||not on interstates|
|Ohio||Legal||on 35 mph roads|
|Oklahoma||Legal||decided by individual counties|
|South Dakota||Legal||requires safety equipment|
|Utah||Legal||under 50 mph, no interstates, only specific roads|
|Washington||Legal||inspection, safety features, 35 mph limit|
|Wyoming||Legal||must get permits, safety features, ride on right if low speed|